Courses

PH Guidelines Regarding P/F for Spring ’20 and ’20-’21 Academic Year

Below is a list of courses that can count towards a public health concentration.

Core Course

PHLH 201(S) SEM Dimensions of Public Health

Public health is concerned with protecting and improving health at the level of a community or population. Although individual behavior is an essential element of public health, collective, rather than individual, outcomes are the focus of public health study. In this course we will survey the field of public health, introducing students to core concepts and methods that highlight the interrelationship of individual choice and social institutions with environmental and biological factors in producing health outcomes at the population level. We will develop these concepts and methods within the context of signal cases and public health crises. [ more ]

PHLH 402(S) SEM Senior Seminar in Public Health

The capstone seminar provides concentrators with the opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize their experiential learning in the context of understanding gained from a cohesive set of elective courses, and through the lens of a variety of intellectual and disciplinary frameworks. A second goal is to give concentrators experience working in a multi-disciplinary team to address a real-world, and in many cases very daunting, public health problem. Students will read, discuss, and compose written reflections on primary source empirical papers addressing a range of issues and disciplines in the field of public health. For example, topics may include the social determinants of health, environmental health risks, and access to health care. Students will also be divided into small research teams to interact with local organizations and investigate a contemporary real-life issue in public health. The capstone course is required of all concentrators, but may be opened to other students with relevant experience at the discretion of the instructor and the advisory committee, if space permits. [ more ]

Statistics Courses

  • STAT 101(F, S) LEC Elementary Statistics and Data Analysis

    It is impossible to be an informed citizen in today's world without an understanding of data. Whether it is opinion polls, unemployment rates, salary differences between men and women, the efficacy of vaccines, etc, we need to be able to interpret and gain information from statistics. This course will introduce the common methods used to analyze and present data with an emphasis on interpretation and informed decision making. [ more ]

    STAT 161(F, S) LEC Introductory Statistics for Social Science

    This course will cover the basics of modern statistical analysis with a view toward applications in the social sciences. Topics include exploratory data analysis, linear regression, basic statistical inference, and elements of probability theory. The course focuses on the application of statistical tools to solve problems, to make decisions, and the use of statistical thinking to understand the world. [ more ]

    PSYC 201(F, S) LEC Experimentation and Statistics

    An introduction to the basic principles of research in psychology. We focus on how to design and execute experiments, analyze and interpret results, and write research reports. Students conduct a series of research studies in different areas of psychology that illustrate basic designs and methods of analysis. You must register for lab and lecture with the same instructor. [ more ]

    STAT 201(F, S) LEC Statistics and Data Analysis

    Statistics can be viewed as the art and science of turning data into information. Real world decision-making, whether in business or science, is often based on data and the perceived information it contains. Sherlock Holmes, when prematurely asked the merits of a case by Dr. Watson, snapped back, "Data, data, data! I can't make bricks without clay." In this course, we will study the basic methods by which statisticians attempt to extract information from data. These will include many of the standard tools of statistical inference such as hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and linear regression as well as exploratory and graphical data analysis techniques. This is an accelerated introductory statistics course that involves computational programming and incorporates modern statistical techniques. [ more ]

    STAT 202(F, S) LEC Introduction to Statistical Modeling

    Data come from a variety of sources: sometimes from planned experiments or designed surveys, sometimes by less organized means. In this course we'll explore the kinds of models and predictions that we can make from both kinds of data, as well as design aspects of collecting data. We'll focus on model building, especially multiple regression, and talk about its potential to answer questions about the world -- and about its limitations. We'll emphasize applications over theory and analyze real data sets throughout the course. [ more ]

    STAT 335(S) LEC Introduction to Biostatistics and Epidemiology

    Epidemiology is the study of disease and disability in human populations, while biostatistics focuses on the development and application of statistical methods to address questions that arise in medicine, public health, or biology. This course will begin with epidemiological study designs and core concepts in epidemiology, followed by key statistical methods in public health research. Topics will include multiple regression, analysis of categorical data (two sample methods, sets of 2x2 tables, RxC tables, and logistic regression), survival analysis (Cox proportional hazards model), and if time permits, a brief introduction to regression with correlated data. [ more ]

    STAT 372 LEC Longitudinal Data Analysis

    Last offered Spring 2023

    This course explores modern statistical methods for drawing scientific inferences from longitudinal data, i.e., data collected repeatedly on experimental units over time. The independence assumption made for most classical statistical methods does not hold with this data structure because we have multiple measurements on each individual. Topics will include linear and generalized linear models for correlated data, including marginal and random effect models, as well as computational issues and methods for fitting these models. As time permits, we will also investigate joint modeling of longitudinal and time-to-event data. We will consider many applications in the social and biological sciences. [ more ]

    STAT 440 LEC Categorical Data Analysis

    Last offered Spring 2024

    This course focuses on methods for analyzing categorical response data. Traditional tools of statistical data analysis for continuous response data are not designed to handle such data and pose inappropriate assumptions. We will develop methods specifically designed to address the discrete nature of the observations and consider many applications in the social and biological sciences as well as in medicine, engineering and economics. The first part of the course will discuss statistical inference for parameters of categorical distributions and arising in contingency tables. The longer second part will focus on statistical modeling via generalized linear models for binary, multinomial, ordinal and count response variables, using maximum likelihood. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

Elective Courses

  • PHIL 211 TUT Ethics of Public Health

    Last offered Spring 2023

    From questions about contact tracing apps to racial and age disparities in health risk and outcomes, the COVID-19 pandemic has foregrounded the importance of ethics as a key concern in public health policies and activities. Moreover, the ethical issues that are implicated in responses to the pandemic reflect the range of those manifested across the field of public health as a whole. In this course, we will survey the ethics of public health through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic, investigating concepts and arguments that are central to the ethics of public health research and practice. For example, we will examine the ethics of disease surveillance, treatment and vaccine research, resource allocation and rationing, compulsion and voluntariness in public health measures, and social determinants of health outcomes, among other topics. To do this, we will need to become familiar with key ethical theories; think deeply about such concepts as privacy, paternalism and autonomy, exploitation, cost-benefit analysis and justice; and compare the function of these concepts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with the way they work in responses to other public health concerns. [ more ]

    PHIL 212 / STS 212 / WGSS 212(F) LEC Ethics and Reproductive Technologies

    In her groundbreaking book, The Tentative Pregnancy, Barbara Katz Rothman writes that "[t]he technological revolution in reproduction is forcing us to confront the very meaning of motherhood, to examine the nature and origins of the mother-child bond, and to replace--or to let us think we can replace--chance with choice." Taking this as our starting point, in this course we will examine a number of conceptual and ethical issues in the use and development of technologies related to human reproduction, drawing out their implications for such core concepts as "motherhood" and "parenthood," family and genetic relatedness, exploitation and commodification, and reproductive rights and society's interests in reproductive activities. Topics will range from consideration of "mundane" technologies such as contraception, abortion, in vitro fertilization (IVF), prenatal genetic screening and testing, and surrogacy, to the more extraordinary, possibly including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), post-menopausal reproduction, uterine transplants, and "artificial wombs." Background readings include sources rooted in traditional modes of bioethical analysis as well as those incorporating feminist approaches. [ more ]

    PHIL 213(S) TUT Biomedical Ethics

    Much like the construction of medical knowledge itself, it is from specific cases that general principles of biomedical ethics arise and are systematized into a theoretical framework, and it is to cases they must return, if they are to be both useful and comprehensible to those making decisions within the biomedical context. In this tutorial we will exploit this characteristic of biomedical ethics by using a case-based approach to examining core concepts of the field. The first portion of the course will be devoted to developing and understanding four moral principles which have come to be accepted as canonical: respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The remainder of the course will consider key concepts at the core of medical ethics and central issues for the field, such as privacy and confidentiality, the distinction between killing and "letting die," and therapy vs. research. To this end, each week we will (1) read philosophical material focused on one principle or concept, and (2) consider in detail one bioethics case in which the principle or concept has special application or relevance. In some weeks, students will be asked to choose from a small set which case they would like to address; in others the case will be assigned. [ more ]

    STS 227 Death and Dying

    Last offered NA

    In this course we will examine traditional philosophical approaches to understanding death and related concepts, with a special focus on the ethical concerns surrounding death and care for the dying. We will begin with questions about how to define death, as well as reflections on its meaning and function in human life. We will move on to examine ethical issues of truth-telling with terminally ill patients and their families, decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments, the care of seriously ill newborns, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and posthumous interests. In addition to key concepts of death, dying, and terminal illness, we will develop and refine notions of medical futility, paternalism and autonomy, particularly within the context of advance directives and surrogate decision making. [ more ]

    PHIL 228 / STS 228 / WGSS 228 LEC Feminist Bioethics

    Last offered Fall 2023

    In this course we will explore the ways in which feminist approaches to moral thinking have influenced both the methodology and the content of contemporary bioethics. The first portion of the course will address the emergence of the "Ethics of Care," critically assessing its origins in feminist theory, its development within the context of the caring professions, and its potential as a general approach to bioethical reasoning. The second portion of the course will use feminist philosophy to inform our understanding of the ways in which gender structures interactions with and within the health care system. To do this we will explore topics that might traditionally be considered "women's issues" in healthcare, such as medicine and body image (e.g., cosmetic surgery, eating disorders), reproductive and genetic technologies, and research on women and their health care needs. In addition we'll also look at feminist analyses of topics that traditionally have not been regarded as "gendered," such as resource allocation and end of life issues. [ more ]

    PHIL 274(F) TUT Messing with People: The Ethics of Human Experimentation

    The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Stanley Milgram's Obedience experiments are infamous. Yet, other lesser known experiments are equally important landmarks in research ethics that continue to shape the design, conduct, and regulation of research involving human participants. In this tutorial we'll closely examine a series of contemporary and historical cases of human experimentation (roughly, one case per week) with an eye toward elucidating the moral norms that ought to govern such research. A number of conceptual themes will emerge throughout the course of the term, including notions of exploitation and coercion, privacy and confidentiality, and the balance between public interests and individual rights. The cases will be drawn from different domains of research, including clinical medicine, public health, social and behavioral sciences, and education. Specific issues are likely to include the ethics of placebo research; deception in research; studies of illicit/illegal behavior; genetic research; research involving social media; experimentation with children, pregnant people and fetuses; research involving persons with mental illness, justice and research with marginalized populations, among other topics. [ more ]

    WGSS 332 / AMST 369(S) SEM Gender, Sexuality & Disability

    From classical mythology to reality TV, bodies and minds that depart from the ordinary have long been sources of popular fascination. In recent history, people marked as "disabled" have been subject to medical scrutiny, labeled deficient or defective, and often barred from full participation in society. And yet, what counts as "disability"--and who counts as disabled--varies greatly depending on cultural and historical context. Arguably, disability has more to do with social conditions than with any innate characteristics of disabled people themselves. This class introduces disability studies, situating disability within its historical, political, and cultural contexts. As a GWSS course, we'll center queer and feminist perspectives; this class also emphasizes recent work. Echoing arguments in gender and sexuality studies, scholars have insisted that disability is not a natural or biological fact, but a socially constructed category. As such, scholars and activists have challenged medical models that conceptualize disability as an individual defect in need of elimination. They have also questioned the idea that disability is simply a minority identity -- to the contrary, disability is a condition that most humans will experience at some point in our lives. This class frames "disability" broadly--encompassing not just conditions of physical impairment, but a wide range of bodily, sensory, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral differences and capacities. This class also centers how disability is produced intersectionally through regimes like race, capitalism, and empire. Topics include: theories of embodiment, eugenics, institutionalization and incarceration, neurodivergence, mad studies, the politics of health, storytelling and narrative, disability justice activism, neoliberalism, biopolitics, and crip theory. Along with scholarly writings, we'll consider activist texts, popular press, fiction, memoir, and a variety of other media. [ more ]

    PHIL 337 TUT Justice in Health Care

    Last offered Spring 2024

    Justice is a notoriously complex and elusive philosophical concept, the conditions of which are even more difficult to articulate within real world institutions and contexts than in the abstract. In this course we'll explore justice as a fundamental moral principle and as a desideratum of the US health care system. The first portion of the course will be devoted to considering general theories of justice as well as alternative conceptions of justice specifically within the health care context. While social justice and distributive justice are deeply intertwined in the health care context and we will discuss both, we will focus primarily on the concept of distributive justice. This theoretically oriented work will provide the background for subsequent examination of specific topics, which may include, among others: justice in health care financing and reform; justice in health care rationing and access to health care, with particular attention to the intersections of rationing criteria with gender, sexuality, race, disability, and age; justice in the procurement and allocation of organs for transplantation; obesity and personal responsibility for illness; and justice in medical research, including "double standards" for research conducted in low resource settings. [ more ]

    PSYC 354 SEM Health Psychology

    Last offered Fall 2023

    In this course, students will contrast the traditional biomedical model of health with the biopsychosocial model of health with a goal of understanding how biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors influence health and well-being. We will explore psychological theory and research that targets health promotion, disease prevention, and management of chronic illness. Course readings will include empirical articles, excerpts from popular science books, and news/media articles on public health issues. Discussions will center on using the biopsychosocial model to better understand health processes (e.g., stress, substance use, physical inactivity) and outcomes (e.g., insomnia, diabetes, heart disease), with a special focus on health disparities among historically disadvantaged groups in the United States. Students also will learn about cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness-based treatments ("behavioral medicine") that promote healthy behavior and the management of chronic illness/disease (e.g., pain, HIV/AIDs, cancer). All students will design and conduct an empirical research project based on the course material. [ more ]

  • CHEM 115 LEC AIDS: The Disease and Search for a Cure

    Last offered Fall 2023

    Since the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) in 1983, modern techniques of molecular biology have revealed much about its structure and life cycle. The intensity of the scientific investigation directed at HIV-1 is unprecedented in history. We now know more about this virus than any other pathogen. However, the early optimism concerning the prospects for an effective AIDS vaccine has not yet materialized, and HIV strains that are resistant to drug therapies are common. We are now four decades into the AIDS pandemic, and the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 38 million HIV-infected persons worldwide. After an introduction to chemical structure, we examine the molecular biology of the HIV virus, the molecular targets of anti-HIV drugs, and the prospects for a cure. We look at how HIV-1 interacts with the human immune system and discuss strategies for developing an effective HIV vaccine. [ more ]

    ENVI 134 / CAOS 134 The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues

    Last offered NA

    Biology and Social Issues of the Tropics explores the biological dimensions of social and environmental issues in tropical societies, focusing specifically on the tropics of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Social issues are inextricably bound to human ecologies and their environmental settings. Each section of the course provides the science behind the issues and ends with options for possible solutions, which are debated by the class. The course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes while also emphasizing global interconnectedness. It begins with a survey of the tropical environment, including a global climate model, variation in tropical climates and the amazing biodiversity of tropical biomes. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria, AIDS and Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment, and global climate change. This course fulfills the DPE requirement. Through lectures, debates and readings, students confront social and environmental issues and policies from the perspective of biologists. This builds a framework for lifelong exploration of human diversity in terms of difference, power and equity. [ more ]

    BIOL 313 LEC Immunology

    Last offered Fall 2023

    The rapidly evolving field of immunology examines the complex network of interacting molecules and cells that function to recognize and respond to agents foreign to the individual. In this course, we will focus on the biochemical mechanisms that act to regulate the development and function of the immune system and how alterations in different system components can cause disease. Textbook readings will be supplemented with current literature. [ more ]

    PSYC 313 / NSCI 313(F) SEM Opioids and the Opioid Crisis: The Neuroscience Behind an Epidemic

    Opioid misuse, including addiction, has emerged as a major health epidemic in the United States. This course will explore the science of opioids as well as the historical and societal context surrounding their use. We will examine the neurobiological mechanisms through which opioids interact with pain pathways and reward circuits within the brain and we will explore how changes in these systems contribute to opioid tolerance, dependence, and addiction. We will consider how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors can powerfully influence these processes. Finally, we will consider alternative approaches to pain management as well as interventions for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Critical evaluation of peer-reviewed primary literature from animal and human studies will serve as a foundation for class discussions. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, participation in discussions and written assignments. [ more ]

    BIOL 315(S) LEC Microbiology: Diversity, Cellular Physiology, and Interactions

    The Covid pandemic and the alarming spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria are but two of the reasons for the resurgence of interest in the biology of viruses and microorganisms. This course will examine microbes from the perspectives of cell structure and function, genomics, and evolution. A central theme will be the adaptation of bacteria as they evolve to fill specific ecological niches, with an emphasis on microbe: host interactions that lead to pathogenesis. We will consider communication among bacteria as well as between bacteria and their environment. Topics include: microbial development, population dynamics, metagenomics, bioremediation, plant and animal defenses against infection, and bacterial strategies to subvert the immune system. We will also discuss a few viral examples, including SARS-CoV2, in the context of pathogen-host co-evolution and the immune system. In the lab, major projects will focus on the mammalian gut microbiome and the isolation and characterization of bacteria from natural environments. The lab experience will culminate in multi-week independent investigations. Readings will be comprised primarily of articles from the primary literature. [ more ]

    PSYC 335(F) SEM Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    BIOL 417 SEM Translational Immunology: From Bench to Bedside

    Last offered Spring 2024

    Recent advances in the field of immunology have led to the development of new approaches to prevent and treat diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Drugs that modulate the body's natural immune response have become powerful tools in treating major diseases--infection, autoimmunity and cancer. This course will use readings from the primary literature to explore central themes involved in translating basic research to new clinical and therapeutic approaches. Topics will include vaccine development, autoimmunity and cancer immunotherapy. [ more ]

  • ECON 205 SEM Public Economics

    Last offered Fall 2023

    This course examines the role of the government in the economy. We consider three broad issues: When should governments intervene in the economy? What is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives and behavior? In addition to a theoretical perspective, we will discuss particular government spending programs in the United States, including Social Security, various types of publicly-provided insurance, spending on education, and public assistance for the poor. Finally, we will study how the government raises revenue through taxation. We will discuss the principles that guide tax design and consider the effects of the tax code on behavior. [ more ]

    PSCI 209 / WGSS 209 SEM Poverty in America

    Last offered Fall 2022

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    PSCI 228 LEC International Organization

    Last offered Spring 2024

    Tens of thousands of international organizations populate our world. IGOs, whose members are sovereign states, range from the Nordic Association for Reindeer Research to NATO and the UN; INGOs, whose members are private groups and individuals, include the International Seaweed Association as well as Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch. We will investigate theories about where they come from, what they do, and to whom they matter, and explore controversies surrounding their agency, legitimacy, efficiency, and accountability. We cover the history, structures and functions of international organizations using case studies. [ more ]

    ECON 230(S) LEC The Economics of Health and Health Care

    What is health? How do we improve it? Health is an essential component of individual well-being and a fundamental input to a productive economy, making its production a societal priority, as well as an individual one. This course examines the economics of the supply and demand for health through applied microeconomic analysis. The course focuses on three broad areas: the inputs to health and the demand for health care; the structure and functioning of health care markets and the roles of key institutions; and the role of public policy in furthering individual and population health. Special attention will be devoted to topics of current policy interest, including health disparities, problems of health care costs and cost containment, health insurance reform and the Affordable Care Act, the role of public health interventions, and drug development and regulation. [ more ]

    ECON 381 / ECON 571(S) LEC Global Health Policy Challenges

    Poor health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It can trap individuals in poverty and reduce aggregate economic growth. This course will be structured around major global health challenges, including maternal health, infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, COVID), neglected tropical diseases (e.g malaria, dengue, Ebola), nutritional deficiencies, and mental health. We will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on health in low-income countries in this course. Students will read papers and conducted empirical assignments related to the various topics, as well as develop their own research idea during the semester related to one of the topics covered. [ more ]

    ECON 465 SEM Pollution and Labor Markets

    Last offered Spring 2023

    If your home town has polluted air, does that reduce your wage? Do you work less? Are you less likely to finish high school? These are specific instances of an important general question: how does pollution affect labor market outcomes? The answer matters for individual decisions (where to live) and government policies (air pollution regulations). This seminar begins from theories of optimizing worker behavior in the presence of pollution. Building on this foundation, we will critically evaluate new empirical research into the impacts of pollution on human capital, labor supply, and productivity. We will also study the impact of pollution regulations on wages and employment. Included papers will cover both developed and developing countries. [ more ]

  • PHLH 250 SEM Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Qualitative methods provide the opportunity to add in-depth meaning and context regarding research on individuals and the environments of study. This course introduces students to qualitative research theory in Public Health and gives them the opportunity to 'practice' three qualitative research methods; (1) in-depth interviewing, (2) focus groups and (3) participant observation. Students will have the opportunity to pilot each of these three qualitative research methods, analyze a subset of the data via qualitative analysis software, and design a qualitative research study (including the research instrument). We will cover best practices in reporting qualitative results (for the purposes of peer-reviewed publication) and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research in various domestic and international settings related to public health (such as nutrition, HIV and physical activity). [ more ]

    PSYC 252(F, S) LEC Clinical Psychology

    A study of the phenomenology, etiology, and treatment of psychopathology: depression, bipolar disorder, the schizophrenias, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other health-related issues. The course emphasizes an integrative approach which analyzes theories and research from psychological, biological, interpersonal, and sociocultural perspectives. [ more ]

    PHLH 255 SEM Research Methods in Public Health

    Last offered Spring 2019

    This course will introduce students to three common research methods utilized within Public Health: qualitative methods, survey methods and epidemiology. We will cover the basic research design process, integrating and comparing the qualitative methods of interviewing and focus groups, survey instrument design and pretesting as well as basic epidemiologic methods and concepts. Readings and discussions will engage with best practices in reporting these types of methods (for the purposes of peer-reviewed publication). Lastly, students will have the opportunity to design research instruments, pilot some of these methods, and analyze a subset of the data via analysis software. Students who have taken PHLH 250 should not enroll in PHLH 255. [ more ]

    ANTH 371 / STS 370 / WGSS 371 SEM Campus and Community Health in Disruptive Times

    Last offered Spring 2024

    We study and seek "campuses where students feel enabled to develop their life projects, building a sense of self-efficacy and respecting others, in community spaces that work to diminish rather than augment power asymmetries." --Sexual Citizens (Hirsch and Khan, 2020). Students will design and pursue innovative ethnographic projects that explore campus or community health. We will learn ethnographic techniques such as observant participation, interviewing, focus groups, qualitative surveys, as well as design thinking and data visualization skills. We use and critique the methods of medical anthropology and medical sociology in order to hone our skills in participatory research. Every week, we collaborate with and share our research with our participants and peers both inside and outside class through a variety of innovative exercises. We attend to the parallel roles of narrative and listening in both medicine and ethnography, as we contrast the discourse of providers & patients along with researchers & participants. We aim to understand the strengths and limits of ethnographic inquiry while privileging marginalized voices and attending to power and identity within our participatory research framework. We recognize that our campus health projects are always already shaped by power and privilege, as we examine the ways that daily life, individual practices, and collective institutions shape health on and off campus. Our ethnographic case studies explore how systemic inequalities of wealth, race, gender, sex, ethnicity, and citizenship shape landscapes of pediatric care, mental health, maternity care, and campus sexual assault in the US and elsewhere. We consider how lived practices shape health access & outcomes as well as well-being in our communities and on our campus. [ more ]

    MATH 410 / BIOL 214 TUT Mathematical Ecology

    Last offered Spring 2016

    Using mathematics to study natural phenomena has become ubiquitous over the past couple of decades. In this tutorial, we will study mathematical models comprised of both deterministic and stochastic differential equations that are developed to understand ecological dynamics and, in many cases, evaluate the dynamical consequences of policy decisions. We will learn how to understand these models through both standard analytic techniques such as stability and bifurcation analysis as well as through simulation using computer programs such as MATLAB. Possible topics include fisheries management, disease ecology, control of invasive species, and predicting critical transitions in ecological systems. [ more ]

    ECON 523 / ECON 379(S) SEM Program Evaluation for International Development

    Development organizations face strict competition for scarce resources. Both public and private organizations are under increasing pressure to use rigorous program evaluation in order to justify funding for their programs and to design more effective programs. This course is an introduction to evaluation methodology and the tools available to development practitioners, drawing on examples from developing countries. It will cover a wide range of evaluation techniques and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. The course is a mix of applied econometrics and practical applications covering implementation, analysis, and interpretation. You will learn to be a critical reader of evaluations, and to develop your own plan to evaluate an existing program of your choice. [ more ]

  • GEOS 207 / ENVI 201 LEC The Geoscience of Epidemiology and Public Health

    Last offered Spring 2023

    The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the many ways that diseases can be transmitted in the environment. As a society we are becoming aware of the many ways that geological processes and materials and influence human health, in ways both beneficial and dangerous. This course unites geoscience, biomedicine and public health approaches to address a wide range of environmental health problems. These include water-related illnesses (e.g. diarrhea, malaria); minerals and metals, both toxic (e.g. asbestos, arsenic) and essential (e.g. iodine); radioactive poisoning (e.g. radon gas); and the transport of pathogens by water and wind. In many cases, the environmental health problems disproportionately affect marginalised populations, contributing to greater disease and death among poor communities and populations of colour. We will examine the broad array of dynamic connections between human health and the natural world. We will discuss the social justice implications of a range of environmental health problems. And we will examine current research into how coronaviruses, such as the one causing COVID-19, are transported in the environment. This course is in the Sediments and Life group for the Geosciences Major. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    BIOL 220 / ENVI 220(S) LEC Field Botany and Plant Natural History

    This field-lecture course covers the evolutionary and ecological relationships among plant groups represented in our local and regional flora. Lectures focus on the evolution of the land plants, the most recent and revolutionary developments in plant systematics and phylogeny, the cultural and economic uses of plants and how plants shape our world. The course covers the role of plants in ameliorating global climate change, their importance in contributing to sustainable food production and providing solutions to pressing environmental problems. Throughout we emphasize the critical role of biodiversity and its conservation. The labs cover field identification, natural history and the ecology of local species. [ more ]

    PHLH 220(F) SEM International Nutrition

    Global malnutrition continues to represent one of the most challenging issues of international development. Problems of both under- and overnutrition beginning as early as in utero can detrimentally influence the health, development and survival of resource-limited populations. This course introduces students to the most prevalent nutritional issues through a food policy perspective and exposes them to a wide variety of interventions, policies and current debates in the field of international nutrition. In addition to exploring the multi-level and multi-disciplinary programmatic approaches for the prevention and treatment of the related nutritional problems, students will gain exposure and experience in program design and proposal writing. Readings will involve both real-world programmatic documents/evaluations as well as peer-reviewed journal articles. Examples will be drawn from Africa, Asia and Latin America. [ more ]

    ANTH 254 / ENVI 254 / STS 254 TUT Food, Forests, & Fungi: Environmental Health in the Anthropocene

    Last offered Spring 2024

    This tutorial will examine the impacts of the climate crisis on human, environmental, and planetary health via the lens of food systems & plant medicines in the Anthropocene. We use anthropological, environmental, evolutionary, & ecological approaches to explore the ecosystems connecting humans, plants, animals, and fungi that have been massively disrupted by systems of industrial agriculture, industrial forestry, corporate food systems, and corporate biomedicine. We will dwell on the growing signs of our climate catastrophe including the sharp rise of global temperatures, floods, hurricanes, alongside declining freshwater reserves, melting cryosphere, and falling crop yields, that are helping produce a growing wave of hunger and climate refugees in every world region. Along the way, we will hear from and read about youthful climate activists from Extinction Rebellion, Ende Gelände, Fridays for the Future, 350.org, and the Sunrise Movement who are designing and implementing innovative, local, and sustainable solutions to inaction, apathy, and inertia even as situations of internal migration or displacement, food scarcity, food sovereignty, water shortages, and other climate-related disruptions are increasing in both developing and developed parts of our globe. We learn how activist narratives intersect with wider movements to promote more local and circular economies of regenerative agriculture and forestry, ethically produced and sourced organic food, wild & cultivated botanicals, and complementary medicines that are healing both humans and the planet. [ more ]

    AFR 255 / SOC 255 / ENVI 256 / AMST 257(F) LEC Race, Environment, and the Body

    This course examines the relationship between structural racism and racial/ethnic health disparities. Through class discussions of readings and media images, we will explore three topics: 1) how racism intersects with classism, sexism, and xenophobia to govern the implementation of local, state and federal health care policies; 2) how the uneven enforcement of health care policies ultimately produces differences in mortality, morbidity, and quality of life among various populations; and 3) anti-racist public health scholarship that offers strategies for creating racial health equity. [ more ]

    BIOL 308(F) LEC Integrative Plant Biology: Fundamentals and New Frontiers

    Plants are one of the most successful groups of organisms on Earth and have a profound impact on all life. Successful use of plants in addressing global problems and understanding their role in natural ecosystems depends on fundamental knowledge of the molecular mechanisms by which they grow, develop, and respond to their environment. This course will examine the molecular physiology of plants using an integrative approach that considers plants as dynamic, functional units in their environment. Major emphasis will be on understanding fundamental plant processes, such as photosynthesis, growth and development, water transport, hormone physiology, and flowering, from the molecular to the organismal level. Environmental effects on these processes will be addressed in topics including photomorphogenesis, stress physiology, mineral nutrition, and plant-microbe interactions. Discussions of original research papers will examine the mechanisms plants use to perform these processes and explore advances in the genetic engineering of plants for agricultural, environmental, and medical purposes. Laboratory activities stress modern approaches and techniques used in investigating plant physiological processes. [ more ]

  • PHLH 310 SEM Equity in Health

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Equity in health has been defined as inequalities in health outcomes based on irrelevant social characteristics. The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 highlight equity in health as a main focus and key to achieving social sustainability. This course will introduce students to the concept of equity in health, and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the pathways to unequal health outcomes. The social determinants of health and how they translate to uneven outcomes will be explored and discussed. There will also be a special focus on gender and gender-based violence as a driver of ill health. How to reduce inequity in health will be discussed and debated. Readings will involve some of the classic texts on health equity as well as recent explorations of the area. [ more ]

    PSYC 335(F) SEM Early Experience and the Developing Infant

    The period from conception to age three is marked by impressive rapidity in development and the plasticity of the developing brain affords both fetus and infant an exquisite sensitivity to context. This course delves into the literature that highlights the dynamic interactions between the developing fetus/infant and the environment. The course readings span a range of disciplines and cover a diversity of hot topics in the study of prenatal and infant development, including empirical research drawn from the developmental, neuroscience, psychopathology, and pediatric literatures. [ more ]

    PSYC 358 SEM Developmental Psychopathology: Trajectories of Risk and Resilience

    Last offered Spring 2023

    Why do some youth develop psychopathology in the face of adversity whereas others do not? How do we define psychological disorders in youth? Is resilience a static trait, or can it be promoted? How do we prevent youth from developing psychopathology? In this course, students will address these and other questions using a risk and resilience framework that examines the interactions among multiple risk and protective factors in the pathway to psychopathology. Specifically, students will examine the interactions between individual characteristics (e.g., neurobiological, interpersonal, cognitive, and emotional factors) and environmental contexts (e.g., family, school, peer, early adversity, poverty) in the development of risk and resiliency. Application of etiological models and empirical findings to prevention and intervention approaches will be explored. Throughout the course, students will evaluate current research based upon theory, methodological rigor, and clinical impact. [ more ]

  • PSCI 209 / WGSS 209 SEM Poverty in America

    Last offered Fall 2022

    Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

    AFR 255 / SOC 255 / ENVI 256 / AMST 257(F) LEC Race, Environment, and the Body

    This course examines the relationship between structural racism and racial/ethnic health disparities. Through class discussions of readings and media images, we will explore three topics: 1) how racism intersects with classism, sexism, and xenophobia to govern the implementation of local, state and federal health care policies; 2) how the uneven enforcement of health care policies ultimately produces differences in mortality, morbidity, and quality of life among various populations; and 3) anti-racist public health scholarship that offers strategies for creating racial health equity. [ more ]

    REL 269 / ANTH 269 / ASIA 269 / STS 269 TUT Mindfulness Examined: Meditation, Emotion, and Affective Neuroscience

    Last offered Fall 2023

    This course asks students to practice and study mindfulness while observing their own minds, emotions, and behavior for an entire semester. We examine the historic roots and current applications of mindfulness, both as a Buddhist meditation practice as well as a secular tool to improve our awareness of awareness. Throughout, we are interested in the nexus of mind, brain, and emotions and the ways that mindfulness has been studied within contemplative and affective neuroscience, integrative neurobiology, and evolutionary psychology. How and why has the research on mindfulness and other meditative practices exploded since 2000? How has this research helped us understand and explain how our minds as well as brains shape everyday emotions and behaviors? We examine the ways evolutionary psychologists, clinical psychiatrists, neuroscientists, clinicians, and medical anthropologists have studied and applied mindfulness to better understand human emotions. We consider the applications of mindfulness for clinicians, therapists, and educators--all of whom attend to how emotions impact interpersonal relationships. We will train in a variety of meditation practices all semester, while learning to better appreciate our own minds, emotions, and relationships. [ more ]

    PHLH 270 SEM Healthcare Workers

    Last offered Spring 2024

    Health care is the largest industry in the US, employing more than one of every 10 private-sector workers. Jobs in the industry, ranging from subcontracted hospital cleaners to university-affiliated specialist surgeons, reflect and reproduce the kind of inequality we see elsewhere in the economy. We will start with an historical perspective, using sources like Patricia D'Antonio's American Nursing: a History of Knowledge, Authority, and the Meaning of Work, Gretchen Long's Doctoring Freedom: The Politics of African American Medical Care in Slavery and Emancipation, and The Next Shift by Gabriel Winant, to understand the development of the modern health care industry in the US, its relationship to the process of deindustrialization in cities like Pittsburgh, PA and the shifting racial and gendered character of the paid labor force. From that framing we will investigate the present. What are working conditions like in each sector, what kind of organizing is there, and how do workers interact across sectors? We will spend some time on Marxist feminist theories of care work and how they relate to this industry. Students will be invited to think about themselves as possible future health care workers, and how they might want to interact with the history of the industry, and the low paid, racialized, gendered sector of care workers that health care depends upon. We will have several guest speakers with expertise on the local health care economy, and spend some time learning about comparative experiences in other countries, including colonial experiences with nursing. [ more ]

    HIST 305 / AFR 304 / GBST 305 SEM A History of Health and Healing in Africa

    Last offered Spring 2022

    This class will explore the history of health and healing in Africa, with emphasis on the colonial and post-colonial eras. During the semester we will explore diverse medical and social interventions in African health over the past 150 years. How have African societies understood healthy communities and public health? We will examine this question through the study of spirit possession and other African healing practices but also how they have intersected with different biomedical practices and public health programs. We will also study the patterns and social impacts of new diseases in the twentieth century, as well as transformations in the understanding and treatment of diseases long present on the continent. In particular we will explore shifting understandings of the causes, treatment, and social implications of sleeping sickness, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The development of colonial rule, shifting environmental conditions, changing diets, and urbanization all impacted the disease landscape, as well as the way African societies have understood public health. Indeed, the themes of health, medicine and disease provide a useful lens for understanding important social transformations across the continent. [ more ]

    PHLH 310 SEM Equity in Health

    Last offered Fall 2021

    Equity in health has been defined as inequalities in health outcomes based on irrelevant social characteristics. The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 highlight equity in health as a main focus and key to achieving social sustainability. This course will introduce students to the concept of equity in health, and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the pathways to unequal health outcomes. The social determinants of health and how they translate to uneven outcomes will be explored and discussed. There will also be a special focus on gender and gender-based violence as a driver of ill health. How to reduce inequity in health will be discussed and debated. Readings will involve some of the classic texts on health equity as well as recent explorations of the area. [ more ]

    PHLH 351 / AAS 351(F) TUT Racism in Public Health

    Across the nation, states, counties and communities have declared racism a public health crisis. This push to identify systemic racism as a high priority in public health action and policy is an important symbolic and political move. It names the faults of histories, systems and institutions but also brings to the spotlight the individual and community responsibility to dismantle racism in the US. In this tutorial, we will examine racism in public health policy, practice and research through an investigation of several mediums of evidence and information, ranging from peer reviewed literature to news editorials, podcasts and documentaries. We will explore specific pathways by which legacies of colonialism and racism function in various public health disciplines such as epidemiology, social & behavioral sciences, health policy and environmental health while also examining the dynamics of power and history in research and community practice. We will take deep dives into issues on how health can be impacted by redlining, racist medical algorithms, racial trauma and stress and police violence, to name a few. Students will also have two opportunities to select their own case studies, as a way for you to research and learn about particular racial health issues that are of personal interest. This course is also about self-reflection and exploration of the ways in which our identities and lived experiences impact our understanding and perspective. We will gain skills in speaking across differences and articulation of how our own perceptions and lived experiences of race and racism impact our study of public health. This tutorial requires an openness to self-reflection and the practice of listening and articulation. [ more ]

    PSYC 356(F) SEM Asylum: Understanding the Psychological Effects of Persecution, Trauma, and the Migration Experience

    Asylum is a specific form of humanitarian relief granted to an individual who can legally establish a history of previous persecution, or fear of future persecution, on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. What are the psychological effects of being physically and emotionally persecuted because of who you are, what you believe, and/or your identity? Using the framework of asylum, we will study the effects of persecution, loss, and displacement on mental health and well-being, and the psychological impacts of traumatic stress and of seeking asylum in the United States. Through close reading of empirical studies, case studies, narratives, and legal writing, we will consider the psychological outcomes most frequently reported by asylum seekers, as well as the effects of traumatic stress on attachment and interpersonal relationships, family functioning and the capacity for recovery and post-traumatic growth. We will explore various types of persecution (e.g., gender-based violence, gang-violence, political persecution, and family separation) and their global health context. Finally, we will examine the social determinants, legal frameworks, and social justice implications of therapeutic interventions and resettlement. Students will also explore the clinical literature on psychological outcomes and how this research is informing both psychotherapy and social service interventions in the US and humanitarian settings across the globe. Guest speakers will punctuate our time over the semester, so that students can understand the role of lawyers, clinicians (medical and psychological) and global mental health researchers in addressing issues of forced displacement. [ more ]

    HIST 384(F) SEM Comparative History of Science and Medicine in Asian/Pacific America, 1800-Present

    How have scientific knowledge and medicine been tools of exclusion, violence, and imperial control against Asian Americans, as well as indigenous peoples, Black, Latinx, and white migrants, and their descendants? How have these groups negotiated and resisted encounters with such knowledge from the 19th century to the present? This seminar explores these questions by examining a series of case studies--including American colonial medicine and science in the Philippines and Hawai'i, Cold War migration of Chinese scientists and South Asian doctors to the U.S., and the politics of HIV/AIDS, psychiatry, and culturally competent care in Black, Asian, and Cuban migrant communities. Together, we will survey the literature in history, English, Global Health, Sociology, and other fields and consider how the Asian/Pacific American experience in science and medicine has been integral to, as well as informed by, the experiences of other groups in the transpacific world. Students will leave this course with interdisciplinary tools for understanding present-day health inequities in underserved Asian/Pacific American communities and other marginalized groups. [ more ]

    CHIN 421 / GBST 386 / ASIA 421(F) SEM Chinese Societies through the lens of COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the world. How did the Chinese-speaking regions in Asia, including Mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore, respond to the pandemic during its earlier years? How did their responses reflect the political and economic systems as well as the cultural values of Asian societies? What were the effects of these responses on the regions and people's daily lives? In this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of Chinese-speaking societies through an analysis of the "public" and "private" literature pertaining to the lived experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through readings and discussions of various materials such as government records, scientific publications, journalistic writings, personal diaries, and online narratives, students will explore a wide range of issues related to the politics, economy, public health, and sociocultural issues of Asian societies. Simultaneously, Chinese language learners will further enhance their language proficiency and intercultural competency by engaging in complex discourse in the target language. All readings and discussions are in Chinese. [ more ]